Police, army arrest youth leaders, beef up security at Akwa Ibom gas plant after protest

Governor Godswill Akpabio
Governor Godswill Akpabio

Soldiers and policemen have been drafted to the Akwa Ibom gas plant being constructed by Septa Energy in Edo community in of the Niger Delta state following a protest by youths of the community.

The armed soldiers and policemen were on Thursday positioned at strategic points in the site, in addition to those on motorised patrol.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that policemen from the Oron Area Command had on Wednesday dispersed hundreds of protesters and arrested their leaders at the site, located in Esit Eket local government.

The youths were said to be protesting alleged non-employment of the indigenes of the area by the plant owners.

A check on Thursday, however, showed that normalcy had returned to the plant while construction activities were ongoing.

A construction worker, Effiong Dickson, told NAN that more armed soldiers and policemen were deployed following the protest.

“As you can see, the security team has been reinforced and we have more than 10 of them added to ensure that there is no disruption of work here.

“The plant is slated for start up on Nov. 8 and plans are on top gear, so we are all racing to meet that target and cannot afford any delays,” Mr. Dickson said.

The Public Relations Officer of the Akwa Ibom police command, Etim Dickson, confirmed the arrest of the 13 youths on Thursday.

Mr. Dickson said the protesters had blocked the highway leading to the plant and disrupted the flow of traffic.

The detention of the youth leaders in Oron had heightened anxiety in the host communities.